Ruth was born in Kotzebue to Walter and Nellie Flood Blankenship on September 25, 1928. Although born in Kotzebue, she does not consider herself a Qikiktagrugmiut . Ruth and her sister Ida grew up in Candle, Quartz and Bear Creek (near Candle), Elephant Point, Kewalik, Selawik, and finally Kiana. Their mother, Nellie, was reared at Oksiq between Kiana and Noorvik. Ruth's grandmother, Kitty Kapathuk Flood, grew up in Kiana and Oksiq. When her parents were first married, they operated a store at Okok Point for a Kotzebue trader. They moved the store to its present location in Kiana in 1929. In the past, her cousin Robinson Blankenship and she operated the store. Today, Ruth manages the store all by herself. Ruth met her husband Pete Sandvik at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He was a geological engineer from the Matanuska Valley. He is now deceased. They were married for 42 years and had seven children. Ruth was a write-in candidate during one City Council election and has since served in that capacity for a number of years. She was also a member of the City's Utility and Planning Commissions. Ruth died on April 29, 2014 at the age of 85. For more about Ruth Sandvik see her obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner newspaper.